Benjamin Netanyahu has warned of new lockdowns being imposed on cities as the Israeli health authorities anticipate “an alarming and continuous rise in coronavirus incidence”.
There have been increasing infections as more businesses reopen with in excess of 300 new cases reported on Friday – the biggest number since mid-April.
Mr Netanyahu said today that “if the public does not stick to wearing masks and social distancing, we will be bringing back a full closure".
In light of the spike in cases, the Israeli Health Ministry has ordered hospitals to prepare for immediate reopening of coronavirus wards.
Interviewed on Army Radio, head of public health Professor Sigal Sadetsky said: "We are not trying to stress the public but rather to tell it the truth. There is a limit to the capability of the health system."
Mr Netanyahu said that key agencies had been asked for their assessments of the situation. Although they had provided different forecasts, “these forecasts are all tough. We must flatten the curve now.”
Defence Minister Benny Gantz said the government had a duty to reflect “the public's needs on the one hand, and the economy's needs on the other".
On Sunday morning, the total number of cases in Israel since the start of the crisis stood at 20,686, with 305 deaths. There are currently 4,716 active cases, 43 of them serious.
Around 21,500 pupils and teachers are in isolation and more than 200 schools are closed.